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Psychological Approach To Juvenile Delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks (400 BC) when Socrates wrote about bad behaved youngsters, who contradict their parents and tyrannise their teachers (Havard and Clark, p. 390). In fact, youthful misbehaviour has been a concern throughout time and resembles similarities and concerns until today. Juvenile delinquency refers to young people who act in illegal or not acceptable ways; youngsters, who break the law or display antisocial behaviour.

The first approach to be discussed is the psychological approach which first concentrates on the personality of delinquents. One of the first scientists to link personality to delinquency was Hans Eysenck, who was interested to find out why people’s personality differed.
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The model became to be known as ‘ICAP’ (Integrated Cognitive Antisocial Potential’ theory and was designed to research the offending behaviour of males from working-class families (Havard and Clark, 2014, p. 226). The focus of this research is a person’s ‘antisocial potential’ (AP), which refers to their potential to commit antisocial acts and their decision to turn that potential into the reality of committing a crime. Nevertheless, the ICAP theory is targeting a specific group of people, namely ‘males’ with working-class background, from low-income families with low school attainment and who are unemployed.

However, the ICAP theory also considers aspects that might prevent an individual from offending, which, in fact, is one of the strengths of this theory as it identifies several factors responsible for future criminal and antisocial behaviour. On the other hand, though, the study has been criticized for only considering risk factors related to family, parenting and peer groups while ignoring wider issues, such as the role of neighbourhood (Webster et al.,
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